Are you uncomfortable in social situations, afraid to interact with others or worry about them judging you? You may suffer from social anxiety. Our communications coach, Marcia Brandwynne, says you're definitely not alone and has some advice on overcoming it.
Some of the most intriguing movie characters have been shy. It's not surprising that introverts resonate with audiences. After all, statistics show that nearly half of all adults feel self-conscious and awkward in social situations.
Most people who suffer from social anxiety are critical of themselves. Are you one of them? You walk into a room full of strangers and go into judgement mode. Your brain tells you people are looking at you and thinking you don't measure up.
"Before your next social engagement, write down all the positive things about yourself. Are you kind? Are you interested in people? Are you good at what you do? Consider all your virtuous qualities and you should feel uplifted. Remember, you don't have to be any more than who you already are to be liked," says Brandwynne.
Next, take the focus off yourself and put it on someone else. Pretend you're a reporter and are there to interview people. Ask someone how they know the hosts of the event or party you're at. Or ask them where they found the sweater or the cute pin they're wearing. By concentrating on others, you'll be taking your critical eyes off yourself.
Finally, keep in mind that nearly 50 percent of the people in that room are feeling exactly the way you do. So make a point of being a good listener. If you turn your attention to what people are saying and follow up with questions, they will feel valued. You'll be helping them overcome their social anxiety And, by doing so, you'll be overcoming your own.
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